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#1276 Sandy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:23 PM

View PostScorpiox, on 07 December 2012 - 08:46 AM, said:

No, I don't think so. I'm afraid that some powerful individuals haven't written the basics for me yet. We'll be good to go in a few days.

You mean the race index, don't you? It's been nagging on the back of my mind, but I haven't found the time for it, really. I should have time tomorrow to write what I've promised.

I just don't know if I can provide the pictures for the races at this point, for our camera's flash is broken - and of course it's during the time when we get like 6 hours of daylight here in Finland. :tongue:

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#1277 Pyrovisionary

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:50 AM

There don't really seem to be any Christmas themed quests, so I thought this December I might pitch some ideas for some of the more experienced members of Heroica to toy with.
  • A quest about finding the orcish santa called Father Grogmas who has gone missing over the holiday season. The party would be trying to track down father Grogmas before Grogmas arrived and the orcish children woke up to a lack of presents.
  • The culprits and captors of father grogmas would be a group trying to rid Eubric of orcs. They are extremely prejudice towards the species and believe them to be rebellious, thieving and generally dishonest.
  • If father grogmas is rescued, the reward would be a present for each of the party members. These presents would vary from hero to hero.
This is the overall idea for a short quest, I'll leave it to the rest of you to refine if you so wish.
Thank you.

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Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread. And give us our cutlasses, As we swashbuckle, splice the main-brace and cuss. And lead us into temptation, But deliver us some Pizza. For thine are Meatballs, and the beer, and the "strippers, for ever and ever. RAmen.

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#1278 Sandy

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:51 PM

View PostSkyrimguy, on 08 December 2012 - 11:50 AM, said:

There don't really seem to be any Christmas themed quests, so I thought this December I might pitch some ideas for some of the more experienced members of Heroica to toy with.
  • A quest about finding the orcish santa called Father Grogmas who has gone missing over the holiday season. The party would be trying to track down father Grogmas before Grogmas arrived and the orcish children woke up to a lack of presents.
  • The culprits and captors of father grogmas would be a group trying to rid Eubric of orcs. They are extremely prejudice towards the species and believe them to be rebellious, thieving and generally dishonest.
  • If father grogmas is rescued, the reward would be a present for each of the party members. These presents would vary from hero to hero.
This is the overall idea for a short quest, I'll leave it to the rest of you to refine if you so wish.
Thank you.

Not a bad idea, at all... :wink: I'm pressed for time, but maybe I'll manage to work something out of this, with your permission.

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#1279 Pyrovisionary

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 01:06 PM

View PostSandy, on 08 December 2012 - 12:51 PM, said:

Not a bad idea, at all... :wink: I'm pressed for time, but maybe I'll manage to work something out of this, with your permission.
Use whatever you like however you like!! I'm just glad someone likes it! :cry_happy:

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Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread. And give us our cutlasses, As we swashbuckle, splice the main-brace and cuss. And lead us into temptation, But deliver us some Pizza. For thine are Meatballs, and the beer, and the "strippers, for ever and ever. RAmen.

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#1280 Capt.JohnPaul

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:47 PM

@Skyrimguy-
That's actually really good. Maybe a new item or reward could be "wrapped up presents" or something, so when you open it, it has a random chance to be a certain item.

#1281 Pyrovisionary

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:18 PM

View PostCapt.JohnPaul, on 08 December 2012 - 02:47 PM, said:

@Skyrimguy-
That's actually really good. Maybe a new item or reward could be "wrapped up presents" or something, so when you open it, it has a random chance to be a certain item.
Yeah, the reward would be a wrapped up present. Tailored to the character receiving it. It is grogmas for them after all. A kinght might get a shield for example.

Edited by Skyrimguy, 08 December 2012 - 04:18 PM.

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Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread. And give us our cutlasses, As we swashbuckle, splice the main-brace and cuss. And lead us into temptation, But deliver us some Pizza. For thine are Meatballs, and the beer, and the "strippers, for ever and ever. RAmen.

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#1282 Pyrovisionary

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

Sorry for double post but... I do have another idea for a quest. Maybe for after christmas.
A sort of romeo and juliet/midsummer night's dream crossover. With the reward being gold and increased reputation with the Jei pei or Bonapartes.
The description would be some thing like "​Help me Heroica! My father wants to betroth me to a man I do not love."
The father in speaking being a high ranking bonaparte officer, and the man being a low rank bonaparte soldier. The betrothed is madly in love with someone else however. A jei pei sailor who wants to marry her for her father's money. You will talk with the Betrothed. Let's call her lisa. She will tell you the situation, and then the heroes will have to wrok out this mess. In the midst of it all however, an elven alchemist by the name of Norebo (Backwards for Oberon) And his assistant stick (What you hit a puck with). Thoughts? There is much more detail but I don't wany to give anything away. And besides.., Me? Hosting a quest? Never! :tongue:

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Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread. And give us our cutlasses, As we swashbuckle, splice the main-brace and cuss. And lead us into temptation, But deliver us some Pizza. For thine are Meatballs, and the beer, and the "strippers, for ever and ever. RAmen.

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#1283 Flipz

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:53 PM

View PostSkyrimguy, on 09 December 2012 - 01:16 PM, said:

Sorry for double post but... I do have another idea for a quest. Maybe for after christmas.
A sort of romeo and juliet/midsummer night's dream crossover. With the reward being gold and increased reputation with the Jei pei or Bonapartes.
The description would be some thing like "​Help me Heroica! My father wants to betroth me to a man I do not love."
The father in speaking being a high ranking bonaparte officer, and the man being a low rank bonaparte soldier. The betrothed is madly in love with someone else however. A jei pei sailor who wants to marry her for her father's money. You will talk with the Betrothed. Let's call her lisa. She will tell you the situation, and then the heroes will have to wrok out this mess. In the midst of it all however, an elven alchemist by the name of Norebo (Backwards for Oberon) And his assistant stick (What you hit a puck with). Thoughts? There is much more detail but I don't wany to give anything away. And besides.., Me? Hosting a quest? Never! :tongue:

We already have one Romeo and Juliet storyline, and it's part of Sandy's "main" storyline; see Quest 43. :wink:

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#1284 Endgame

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:02 PM

Just thought I'd throw this out here.

~Endgame's Bossiphy Philosophy~


With that terrible word-play out of the way, I'd figure I'd like to discuss my favorite thing about fighting: the bosses. Perhaps my love for boss fights stems from my love for video games: after all, bosses, when done right, challenge a player's skillset: forces them to make use of what they have and what they know. Of course, Heroica RPG lacks quicktime events, timed action commands, or dodge sequences. So of course, bosses in Heroica boil down to one thing: strategy.

But before we look at the battle it self, let us discuss the

Build-Up


Although Giant Space Fleas from nowhere can be jolly good amounts of fun, a quest of normal size will typically have one boss. Throw in some foreshadowing, for Pete's sake! Make him known before hand- maybe in the catacombs there is a text on the wall describing the fearsome Bone Dragon. maybe there is an NPC who had her hubbie eaten by a giant Wilderbeast. The possibilities are quite literally endless! A boss fight is usually the defining battle of the quest, so you have to make it count. Make the party fear the impending battle - make them paranoid! A boss is a great way to test the integrity of a character, both character and stats wise.

Examples:

-The people of Salmanda (specifically the Cobra Priest) scared of the Wyvern.

-The library mentioning the Temple of Zoot.

-The Death Progg's subjects being absolutely terrified by the guy.


The Character


Not all bosses need to be 100-feet tall metallic beats who can ravage entire planets. A necromancer, a cult leader, or maybe just the Alpha Male/Female of a pack of animals will do quite nicely. As long as the boss appears as a threat to the party, he is good to go. Bonus points of the character is interesting: Atticus Ziegfired comes to mind, what with his attempt to persuade the party to let him free. A boss isn't just about statistics, it is also about the impact what he says and does. A boss, as well as being the defining battle, can also be the defining NPC - a monologuing menace who can truly make heroes see the effects of their actions.

Examples

-Atticus

-Violetta


The Battle


Now let us get to (what arguably is) the meat of a boss: the battle! A boss typically isn't a boss if it is never fought.

A boss should be demanding. Pushover bosses are no fun - these buffed up baddies should beat heroes within an inch of their life. They should drain inventories, cause Phoenix essences to begin vanishing, require some sort of strategy.

And, in my humble opinion, every boss needs to throw a curveball.

I normally have my bosses Turn red and start breaking out some new moves when they reach a certain HP: thank god for Trump Cards! However, a small variation of mechanics or the inclusion of a new one can make a threatening mook into a full blown boss. Maybe it makes itself Lucky halfway through: maybe it changes forms or gets a new weapon. Sometimes, just a simple change like making the order they use specials in unique is enough to distinguish them. When saying this, CMP's Sentinel immediately comes to mind.

Ways you can make a boss unique:


-Give it one more Special then usual.

-Immunities to specific things can keep the party on their toes.

-Make their specials have some sort of consequence, even after it is executed. Once again, look at CMP's sentinel.

-Give them a few passive specials: maybe they counterstrike?

-Who says that only heroes get buffs? Maybe the head honcho of a gambling cult is permanently lucky!

-Artificial Intelligence. I haven't used it yet, but I believe Jeb's (Dwarven? :blush:) Paladin made use of it quite nicely. Despite the fact it isn't a boss, AI would certainly be a good mechanic for one.

-Make them switch it up! Maybe their SP and Level swap every round?


As you can tell, the possibilities are endless.

Edited by Endgame, 09 December 2012 - 07:31 PM.

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#1285 Zepher

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:58 PM

:thumbup:

Particularly the parts about the buffs.  Buffing enemies makes them so awesome, and makes the heroes really feel how their enemies must feel when they are encouraged/hastened/lucky.

I enjoy battle balancing a lot, and I think Endgame is particularly good at it (evidenced in me stealing from him... just about all the time).

Twists (curveballs) are also fun.  They don't even need to be hidden.  My FAVORITE curveballs are the ones that are made plain at the beginning, but then really work over time.  Example - the Chimera started gaining levels at the beginning of the battle, so the heroes KNEW it would only get more and more difficult.  The Wraith in Jebs' quest started by taking one ether, then two... essentially the danger was always in place, so it wasn't a "hidden curveball" but it was still a curveball in that it got more daunting over time.

Would anyone be interested in an article on how to plot a story over multiple quests?

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#1286 CallMePie

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:02 PM

Awesome article, Endgame. :thumbup:

View PostZepher, on 09 December 2012 - 07:58 PM, said:

Would anyone be interested in an article on how to plot a story over multiple quests?

I would. :sweet:
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#1287 Endgame

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:05 PM

Thanks, you two.

Confession: I have a research paper due tomorrow. And here I am, writing how to balance monsters for an online RPG... :tongue:

View PostZepher, on 09 December 2012 - 07:58 PM, said:

Would anyone be interested in an article on how to plot a story over multiple quests?

:drool: Yes please.
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#1288 Flipz

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:37 PM

View PostZepher, on 09 December 2012 - 07:58 PM, said:

Would anyone be interested in an article on how to plot a story over multiple quests?

Hells yeah! :tongue:

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#1289 Brickdoctor

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:42 PM

View PostEndgame, on 09 December 2012 - 08:05 PM, said:

Confession: I have a research paper due tomorrow. And here I am, writing how to balance monsters for an online RPG... :tongue:
An Evaluation and Statistical Analysis of Non-player Character Antagonists with Consideration for the Enjoyment of Forum-based Role-playing Games.

#1290 Endgame

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:44 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 09 December 2012 - 08:42 PM, said:

An Evaluation and Statistical Analysis of Non-player Character Antagonists with Consideration for the Enjoyment of Forum-based Role-playing Games.
...It is on the amount of thermal energy in different colors of light, actually. :tongue:
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#1291 Scubacarrot

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

I like the article, the battle side is really well though out. Make your boss a real challenge, make him be hated by the party, or make him almost want the heroes to team up with him! While I like your philosophy on the boss-battle side of things, the reason I think end-bosses are such a great thing in all manner of things: Is when done right, they will be the most memorable thing in the medium.

Pro tips: Build up is everything. Make your boss pop out every now and again to make fun of the party. For example: The people here that played Borderlands 2 know what I am talking about. Handsome Jack. Hands down best villain in a video game of the year (Far Cry 3's Vaas comes close from what I've seen of the game, haven't played it). The thing that made him great was twofold: One, his personality and voice actor were amazing, Two, he constantly pestered you throughout the whole game by sending you messages and stuff. It's really great.

Make your villain pop out every now and again, make him remind the Heroes why they are against him, Zepher got this down with Wren. The parts where she gets in the Heroes heads, best parts of the quests for me. Seems strange, but I love that. And this does not need to happen every time, you should not be afraid to take your time. But if you want to set up a big bad villain, do the following: Give your heroes something that will give them reason to fight that villain (For example, Wren threw the heroes in a cage and made them fight each other and helpless orcs that would get oneshotted and stuff), and keep reminding the heroes of that. If you can succesfully pull that off, you will have a villain that will get your players from their chairs, they will want to get that shot at the villain in the next quest.

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#1292 Endgame

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:16 PM

I agree: build-up is just as, if not more, vital then all of the other parts. Sometimes, build-up can occur without even seeing the baddie: I used this technique in 36.

Glad you like it. :sweet:
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#1293 Palathadric

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:04 PM

I think that's one of the factors that made Quest #36 so great.
When Rhodus appeared in this quest though, I don't think it had quite the same effect. You know, he had been beaten by a team of heroes before, so in the back on my mind I guess, I was kind of thinking that there's no way that this team of heroes will not be able to beat him. I think that's the problem with having enemies "come back from the dead" or whatever, unless they're undead, which can make thinks trickier for the heroes, it sort of feels like a "been there, done that" situation. That's one of the great things about Wren as well. She's never actually fought the heroes, so there's still that fear and anticipation about if she ever actually does, what her stats will be like, etc. I think that was one of the letdowns of Capt.JohnPaul's last quest. We had seen the Fantome beat a higher leveled group of heroes, so to see him fall to a weaker group just doesn't quite sit right. Of course, I understand that CJP had to work with the heroes he had available and there was no way that he could raise the Fantome's level and health to what it had previously been, considering the team against him, but, anyway...nice guide Endgame. :thumbup:
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#1294 Endgame

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:15 PM

I agree. The plot of 48 demanded Rhodus had to die. There was no way he was going to converted or made into a pacifist, so the entire Rhodus scenario was definitely as you described. However, I threw in the torture scene (my favorite moment from 48 so far) and his new ice powers to keep the heroes guessing. (Those powers will be explained, by the way: eventually! :blush:)

I feel as if my "acting" for Rhodus was far better then last time though: he really does seem like a sadistic son of a megablock. :tongue:
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#1295 Palathadric

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:16 PM

I have to agree with you on that. Rhodus was a lot more the way that I think he should be in this quest. In 36 he bordered on being civil. :tongue:
The "torture chamber" if you will, was interesting, but I think such things are always more interesting for the heroes on the quest then those more casually looking on. The party actually "needs" to worry about failing the quest and whatever.
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#1296 Endgame

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

View PostPalathadric, on 09 December 2012 - 11:16 PM, said:

I have to agree with you on that. Rhodus was a lot more the way that I think he should be in this quest. In 36 he bordered on being civil. :tongue:
The "torture chamber" if you will, was interesting, but I think such things are always more interesting for the heroes on the quest then those more casually looking on. The party actually "needs" to worry about failing the quest and whatever.
Well, after his defeat the hands of Heroica, he went a bit... batty. :tongue: Note how not only in his second phase he though his name was literally "Death Progg", he also used about the same breakdown speech. :tongue:
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#1297 Zepher

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:40 PM

Story-Plotting Over Multiple Quests (The Monster Article)


Alright, so I’ve written about other pieces of making the story of a quest, and other smart players have done the same, but there’s very little literature out there for people who want to plot stories over multiple quests.  So I thought I’d toss something together.  And that something turned out to be really long, so buckle up.  There’s also notes on specific parts of stories, so read those as well if you’re interested in just those parts.

Why is Your Story Multi-Quested


First thing you need to do is figure out how all your quests relate.  What makes them stick together?  What is the uniting theme?  This is probably the most important part of your quests, because this is both your framing device and your pull.  What is your series about, and is it interesting enough to make people come back over and over again?

There are a few framing devices that I think work.  They are outlined below with a few examples:
THE BIG BADDIE – There are a TON of variations of this one, and it is by far the one we see most.  Below are a few examples/variations that I think work, along with my thoughts on it.
THE SINGULAR BIG BADDIE – e.g. Wren or the Fantome Croise.  This is someone the heroes want to see die, that they want to kill.  The heroes think they’re wrong, and they want to go after them with a vengeance.  This one is great if you feel you’re a strong character writer, and are interested in developing real relationships between NPCs and heroes.
THE BADDIE ARMY – e.g. Proggs or the Brobic Elves.  This is something that the heroes want to face.  This one works well if you kill a Big Baddie the first time around.  There is NOTHING scarier on a quest board than seeing “remember when you killed that Direwolf that was impossible to kill and was terrorizing those children?  Well… it was only a pup… and it’s mommy has come for revenge with her whole pack.  This one is GREAT if you want people to be able to hop in whenever and still know what’s going on, and if you want to make the threats seem tougher and tougher.
THE BADDIE MENTALITY – e.g. Wren.  This is another way to tie together good stories.  You’ll note that Wren doesn’t feature heavily in all her quests, but the idea of Chaos, the mentality associated with her, does.  The heroes can discuss it.  This is a great way to get heroes (and players) to focus on an issue that might interest them.  If it does interest them, they’ll come back for more.
THE BIG GOODIE – e.g. The Lion Knights or the Paladin Order.  What were the Lion Knight stories about?  They were about the Lion Knights and their quest to do good.  They fought different enemies each time, but they heroes kept coming back because they wanted to see the good Lion Knights win a home for themselves.  The heroes also felt that they should help the Lion Knights, because they had many friendly NPCs.  This style of quest particularly lends itself to having NPCs that the heroes want to come back and help, whereas Big Baddies often only have NPCs the heroes want to hurt.  If you have both Big Goodies and Big Baddies in the same quest (Punni returns to fight the same Big Baddies he fought before) then you’ve got something good going.
UNRESOLVED PLOTS – e.g. Finegold Brothers or the Maa’ri Orcs.  This is more for plots that only loosely involve each other, but a good way to tie together two quests that might have a bit to do with each other, but don’t feel like direct sequels.  Heroes who feel obligated to resolve issues left unresolved will come back, so there will still be that pull.
THE FATE OF SOMETHING BIG – e.g. the Sandy Quests.  We’ll talk more about these later… a lot more, actually, but this is a huge pull.  The heroes are shaping the direction of Eubric.  Who wouldn’t want to be in one of these quests?  They are affecting the way the world will look.  The same can be said about CJP’s quests (fate of Charis) or the Dastan Trilogy and any follow-ups that are in the works (fate of Dastan).

Three Act Structure & General Notes on Plot


Three-act structure has already been discussed to some degree as far as planning one quest goes, and Flipz published an interesting article on the five-dungeon Quest set-up that I advise everyone read.  I will be applying it, however, to the longer form quest series.

So, you’ve got your story’s core.  You know what it’s about.  Now… how do you tell the story?  This section will be almost all done by example, because I feel it is better to talk that way about it.  I have highlighted four quest series with different lengths, and written how they adhere to the three-act structure and WHY that makes their story compelling.  Please also note that at the time of the writing of this article, three of them have yet to finish, so there is some minor speculation/notes.

We’ll cover a three-act structure used in a two quest series, a three (trilogies lend themselves to this structure easily for obvious reasons), a five, and then the biggest multi-quest story, Sandy’s.  Right now, before we begin, I want you all to think where you think the first act ends for Sandy’s quests.

A reminder of the three act structure:
Act I – Introduce important characters, places, and the main goal of the series.
Act II – Introduce complications, further characters, and make reaching that goal difficult.  Begin to be able to imagine Act III, so as to build anticipation.
Act III – The biggest difficulties, and the hardest obstacle to overcome, but that goal gets accomplished (or not…)

Proggs

Act I:  The whole first quest of the Progg Quests can be considered the beginning.  It serves the purpose of a first act – introduce all the elements needed in a first act of a story.  The major NPCS involved have been brought in, and there are hints at what the future holds (it is established that the Progg invaders are an off-shoot, and not the main force) and you understand the Proggs goal as a whole: death to Loush, and death to all humans beyond that, and therefore you learn the protagonist’s goal – stop the Proggs.

Act II:  Act II and III are both in the final quest of the Proggs series.  Act II is actually most of the quest.  The heroes are faced with a series of difficulties, and they meet further NPCs associated with the Proggs.  This is the complication phase.  It should also be noted that the Big Baddie from the first Act is killed off early in the second, an awesome move to establish the “bigger threat” of Act II and III.

Act III:  Has not been reached yet, but will be the final Progg show-downs.  This is, as in any three-act story, the conclusion, so whenever the heroes achieve their goal, that is Act III.

Lion Knights

Act I:  The Lion Knights’ story is, as stated before, the story of a Big Goodie, and so that is what the three-act structure of the quests will focus on.  The journey (beginning, middle and end) of the Lion Knights begins in Quest 4, where they are NOT the main players.  We do, however, get to know them in the way that you should start to get to know the main characters of a story.  You get their origin.  You learn that they are farmers who are trying to make a name for themselves on Uland, and you meet a few of their important players.  You understand their position, and most importantly, you learn what their goal is: a peaceful home in Uland.

Act II:  The second quest is the middle, where the Lion Knights face adversity and you get to assist them in stopping it.  You learn more about them, meet more of the major players, and set the stage for the final step of the quest.  They have established themselves in Uland, but their story is not over because Doc leaves a thread open that needs to be closed.  Why are they in Uland?  Where did they come from?  Should they go back?  Do they want to?

Act III:  The final quest is a fitting ending… though it could have not been.  Taking the Lion Knights out of Uland could have been disastrous.  Their goal is, remember, to establish a base in Uland, and taking them out of Uland could make this goal seem, while not incomplete, sort of unimportant.  Luckily, this is not the case.  In Dastan, we see a sect of the Lion Knights try to retake their original home.  The Lion Knights of Uland, the Big Goodies, send forces to stop them from doing this.  When they succeed, the series is over.  The Knights have proven that they have set-up on Uland.  They have enough force to protect themselves and ALLIES IN OTHER LANDS, and even though some want to return, the Lion Knights have found a home on Uland where they will remain.  They don’t want to return to Dastan, because they have completed their original goal of setting up a new home on Uland.

Wren

Act I:  Quest 7 is the first act of the Wren series.  It introduces the protagonists that will be with you along the way (Felton, Hans, even Phil) and the villain of the series (Wren).  It also establishes the goal of the series – prevent Wren from spreading chaos.  It does not, however, tell you much about Wren, or her plans, or anything else.  You just know she is a chaos user who you must stop.  The goal is there, but the complications and intricacies are not.

Act II:  You learn more about all the characters, and complications arise.  More and more enemies and dangerous situations are introduced, and allies grow more numerous, but they too reveal more about themselves.  Felton grows paranoid, Hans grittier, Phil is steadfast but no-nonsense, McColt can’t think outside the box, etc.  Even Wren has more complications.  Her plot gets revealed, and the heroes are able to foresee what Act III will probably look like.

Act III:  Wren’s plan will be put into action, and the characters you’ve met will play their parts in either assisting her or stopping her.  The characters will reach the end of their development, and so will the plot.  The goals of the heroes, to balance Chaos (note: a slightly different goal than earlier, because it has evolved slightly with the story) will either be accomplished, or not.

Sandy

Act I:  This is much harder to assess than the other quests featured above, and so I will only point out Act I and the beginning of Act II.  The first question to be asked when looking at this quest series is… what is the central plot?  I think it is the fate of Eubric, and where it is heading, and so would label Quest 33 as the end of Act I.  I know it’s a small quest, and was quick, but it’s one of THE most important ones.  It is the quest where we FINALLY meet all the houses, and where we finally see that the Wolgang can do damage if and when it wants to.  By this point, we know the characters, the setting, and finally, the goal – shape Eubric, and pick which faction you want to shape it.

Act II:  This act starts off with 44, where we see the ramifications of Act I and the complications begin.  Don’t be surprised if characters start dying, and the city starts to look like it’s going a little down hill.  It’s bound to happen now.  We’ve entered the stage of adversity for our protagonist… which is, in this series, the city of Eubric.

General Plot Notes

And now that we’ve looked at structure, let’s discuss some really general plot notes on how to keep people engaged.  These again could apply to single shot quests, but work well for long running ones.
Unresolved Mysteries – Always leave something up to be questioned.  At the end of EVERY quest, unless it is the last.  Where did Finegold go on his ship?  Where’d be he end?  What will the Death Progg do next?  What the hell happened to Vonnetate, and will the heroes ever get to get their revenge?  What do the Paladin Order Leaders look like, and what do they think of the rest of the Order?  Which NPCs were the Veterans?  Will the Maa’ri save their loved ones?  If you have discussion after the quest, and people are wondering about the fate of characters or objects or even plans, they will come back to find their answers.
Bring It Back! - The reverse of unresolved mystery, the “bring it back!”  How exciting is it when Phil turns out to be an Ambassador from Dastan, or Vipera is a Dragon there?  How psyched are people when an unexpected friend returns (see below for some examples).  When Mr. Whales pops up in 41, its fun for everyone because… well, because he’s BACK!  Hurrah!  Someone took that plot line or character that you loved and remembered and they loved and remembered them too!  This can work for dramatic effect too.  One of my favorite book series has a major character disappear in the second and five books… and you’re waiting for her to come back until the fifth book when you find out she’s been tortured and killed.  The author brings her back in a way that rips out your heart – you and the characters have been waiting for her, and she ain’t coming.  Think of the Maa’ri.  You were SO excited for them to be back… but they were used differently, and it was super sad.  So, this technique can be awesome for both inspiring the party (that Orc Riot Leader was a veteran?  Wow!) or for hurting them (those Maa’ri we fought and admired last time were all slaughtered).

NPCs


Not every long-term quest needs NPCs, but they certainly help.  The Lion Knights worked well enough without reusing too many NPCs beyond framing purposes, but you could tell how excited people were to see Luke and Count Lewis when they reappeared.  This is true all the time.  NPCs are popular.  Who didn’t get excited when Singerson showed up in 35, or when Gurnam walked out unexpectedly in 41?  Heroica has an awesome and dedicated community, so people will appreciate your characters if they’re awesome enough, and want to see them again enough to sign-up for a quest.

The Important Things

There’s been so much written about how to play a character in the Theatre, I won’t go into playing the characters of NPCs too much, but I will leave you with thoughts that absolutely must be considered.  The most important thing about playing an NPC is that you should play them as if they were your main character.  That means treat them the same.  They MUST have awesome attributes, good or evil, and they must have flaws, good or evil.  They must have limitations, but they must be useful.  They must have backstories.  MOST IMPOTANTLY, they absolutely must interact with characters in the way that real players do.  If Hans met Thothwick in the arena, you can bet you megablocks he better remember it when they’re in Dastan together.  If Felton liked Arthur, you can bet your megablocks he better like him again when they meet next.  This is both to a) make them dynamic and b) honor your players.  If they worked to become friends with an NPC, they want it to continue to pay off, just like levels would.  On top of that, characters must affect each other.  When Nyx is spared by XX, that affects her, and it would be damn insulting if it didn’t affect him too.  So when they next meet, it will.  I can tell you right here and now, Quest 53 will play out (slightly) differently depending on if Nyx comes or not.  When Vipera contacted members in each party in Dastan she contacted Skrall because why wouldn’t she?  No matter which party he was in, and which position he filled, she would have talked to him first because she knows him.

Planning Ahead


Finally, plan ahead a bit.  All of these plots required forethought, particularly the “Unresolved Mysteries” and “bring it back!”.  Acts I and II should give logical hints towards Act III.  People should be working to piece the story together, and should not go unrewarded for their actions.  Stories don’t need to be planed down to a tee, but make sure you know where you want them to go, because if you get people excited for something, and then deliver it, they will love you forever.

Lord Lawrence Boomingham


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#1298 Palathadric

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:07 AM

Good write-up of what I've read so far. Couldn't read the whole thing. Have to get to bed.
I have to disagree with this, though:

View PostZepher, on 09 December 2012 - 11:40 PM, said:

There is NOTHING scarier on a quest board than seeing “remember when you killed that Direwolf that was impossible to kill and was terrorizing those children?  Well… it was only a pup… and it’s mommy has come for revenge with her whole pack.
Although, in theory it's great. I think practically speaking it doesn't quite work out. I think it's over-used, not necessarily in Heroica, but just in storylines, movielines, etc. No examples coming to mind now, but it often just seems to be a thing in movies that's done to slap together a sequel. I guess I usually don't like sequels in movies which is maybe why I feel this way. :sceptic:
I'll be thinking more clearly tomorrow...I think. :look:
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#1299 Endgame

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:54 AM

Quote

“remember when you killed that Direwolf Death Progg that was impossible to kill and was terrorizing those children bankers?  Well… it was only a pup one prince… and it’s mommy He and his family has come for revenge with their whole pack Army."
:tongue:

Wonderful article, Zepher! Someone has got to sticky it or something. :thumbup:

It must've been kind off odd writing a three-arc summary of a two chapter story. 48 could either be 1 quest or 3, and a quest for every brother not only seemed difficult, but also unnecesary.
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#1300 Flipz

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:55 AM

Great guide, Zeph, but I'd disagree about the Act I placement.  If we try to force the "main" plot into a single arc, think Act I ends with Quests 44 and 50, which properly introduce the Veterans and the Ji Pei; prior to this, there were still a large number of important players who still had not been introduced.

Really, though, I think each House has its own three-act structure, and the interaction between different plotlines is what keeps things interesting.

For example:
Quest 2: Hinckwells Act I
Quest 34: Shadeaux Act I
Quest 43: Hinckwells/Shadeaux Act II (Part 1)
Quest ??: Hinckwells/Shadeaux Act II (Part 2)
Act III will likely play out intermingled with the rest of the "main" plotlines, as I'm sure Sandy will try to synchronize the events a little more.

Likewise:
Quest 6: Wolfgang/Town Watch Act I
Quest 33: Wolfgang/Town Watch Act II (Part 1)
Quest 44: Wolfgang/Town Watch Act II (Part 2)/Veterans Act I
(I believe Sandy's already stated that the Wolfgang is THE main storyline of Heroica, so the other Act III's will likely be timed around them--also note that this is by far the hardest plotline to pin down this way, in part BECAUSE it is linked to so many others on such a large scale.)

Thus, a look at the six main Houses and the current point in their timelines:
Hinckwells: end of Act II  (the secondary plotlines were actually the Lion Knights saga and Lyren, the first of which is pretty much wrapped up with regards to the Hinckwells and the second of which will likely be touched upon in the end of Act II or early Act III)
Shadeaux: end of Act II (the secondary plotlines were the Malheur/Charis, which will likely be invoked again, and Nuitan, whose storyline is obviously tied to that of Lyren and Bellanotte)
Zeigfrieds: Act II (in which the rivalry with the Guild of Invision is actually explained and secondary plotlines [Bluto, necromancy, Chesterine, the other children] are expanded upon)
Guild of Invision: Act I (in which the Guild's secondary plotlines continue to become better established)
Bonapartes: Act II (in which the rivalry with the Ji Pei is better explained and secondary plotlines [Reno, Hestia] are expanded upon)
Ji Pei: Quest 50 should flesh out and finish Act I (which was started with Quest 15)

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